The Greek word oikonomia (οικονομια) is used in the New Testament nine times. It is a combination of the words oikos and nomos which respectively mean house and law. Oikonomia means a household arrangement, a plan for management of a large household.
The English word economy is equivalent to oikonomia. It is used in Ephesians 1:10, 3:9, and 1 Timothy 1:4 for God’s plan, God’s administrative arrangement for carrying out His purpose in His house, His household, which is the totality of His people.*
God’s purpose is eternal, not short-term. Ephesians 3:11 speaks of “the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.” His economy is for accomplishing this eternal purpose. The goal is New Jerusalem at the center of the new heaven and new earth.
God arranges everything to bring us to New Jerusalem as His eternal goal. Ephesians 1:11 tells us that, before creation, we were “predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
God works all things according to His will. Regarding our lives, Romans 8:28 says, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” The “good” here is not our bank account, our career, our family, nor any other human measure of goodness.
The good in Romans 8:28 is for “His purpose” and is further defined by verses 8:29-30 which conclude with our glorification. This glorification is so that New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). May we open our hearts to the Lord so that our concept of “good” gets aligned with His, and so that New Jerusalem as a city of glory becomes our yardstick of goodness.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.
* In other verses (1 Cor. 9:17 and Eph. 3:2 are examples) oikonomia is translated stewardship, indicating the responsibility for cooperating with God in His economy.